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Lead an exemplary life, be thorough

THERE are two key ways by which parents can impart values on their children: by word and by deed. There is substance, though, in the cliché that action speaks louder than words. People are more interested in what you do than what you say; what you do must not contradict what you say to your children. Lee Haney, the award-winning bodybuilder, had a point when he said: “Parents must lead by example. Don’t use the cliché; do as I say and not as I do. We are our children’s first and most important role models.”
There are parents who think all they need is to talk to their children regardless of how they themselves lead their lives.
The problem is that the children see the contradictions: the mouth saying one thing and the deeds quite another.
As a parent, what values or principles of life do you think your child or children will acquire from you by observing your actions? Would you say you are a role model to your children?
If your life does not inspire your children, then you are in trouble and need to take one hard look in the mirror. You need to redefine your life and what you stand for.
Why doesn’t your life inspire your child or children? What is it that they see or do not see in your life? Could it be that they see a disconnect between your words and your deeds? Drew Barrymore, the American author, rightly says, “The best kind of parent you can be is to lead by example.”
I have shared some of the values which were hand-me-downs from my father and mother, especially from my father because my mother died when I was relatively young.
There were some values, though, which I learnt merely by observing the lives of my parents, and they have contributed to what I am today.
My father was a lay preacher in his church, the Salvation Army, and one thing I learned from his preaching style was the value of preparedness when facing an audience.
Apart from his move-about-the-pulpit approach to preaching, my father was an ardent student of the Bible who would unleash exact quotations from the Bible (chapter, verse and contents) without even opening his Bible – and indeed when people checked they found his quotation to be accurate. This made him popular with the congregants so much so that they nicknamed him “Dictionary”.
I have adopted my father’s approach in my public speaking and lecturing style to my university students. I try to be thoroughly prepared.
I have found this to be an effective approach which gains one the respect of the audience.
You can lose people’s trust or confidence if they think you do not know your subject matter or are merely parroting what others have said; or if they think you are unprepared.
I remember the discomfort that descended on a church service I attended some years back when the preacher started looking for his sermon notes while already in the pulpit! He did not even know where they were, and seemed completely lost without them.
The point I am making is that you need to be thorough in your preparations for any engagement relating to your work or as you engage your audience.
If you fail to be thorough you could lose the respect of your boss at work or even your juniors. You cannot go to make a presentation at a workshop or seminar without being adequately prepared.
Thoroughness breeds success and quality; lack of it breeds mediocrity and even contempt. If you want to succeed in your dreams, you have to avoid laxity.

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